Though property prices in Bulawayo have firmed over the past year, the country’s second largest city continues to play second fiddle to the capital.
The price of a four-bedroomed house in an upmarket location in Bulawayo, for example, is just one-seventh of its equivalent in Harare.
One of the country’s leading property companies, Knight Frank, says in its latest Africa Report, that while a four-bedroomed house in a good location in Harare such as Chisipite or Ballantyne Park would sell for $5.25 billion, a similar house in Bulawayo is only expected to fetch $700 million.
The report says rents, which had rocketed from $10.5 million for some houses in posh suburbs like Borrowdale to $17.5 million, are likely to stagnate or decrease in the coming year because of the adverse political environment and fewer inquiries from the expatriate community and wealthy Zimbabweans.
The report was prepared before the dollar plunged from $17 500 to the greenback to the current $26 000 plus on the official market.
Rentals in Bulawayo had firmed because of a decline in leasing stock. Rents for good townhouses and quality detached houses were now around $7.9 million.
Prices for offices had firmed by between 10 and 15 percent, the report says. Top rents in Harare were around $87 500 a square metre while those in Bulawayo hovered around $52 500.
The same applied to retail shops. The report says the demand had been exacerbated by an influx of foreign traders, especially the Chinese and Nigerians.
Prime rents had increased by a 100 percent, with suburban shopping centres such as Ascot and Hillside in Bulawayo being in very high demand.